Spring Cleaning in an Urban Homestead


So this week is spring break at the schools (I substitute teach in the winter) and I don’t start working at the organic farm (where I work seasonally) quite yet, so this week I’m catching up on a lot of preparations for the growing season. Part of preparing for the growing season, for me, is cleaning. I don’t always have lots of time or energy for cleaning during the summer, so if I can start with a clean home in the spring it’s really helpful.

Over the past couple of years I’ve completely stopped buying commercial cleaning products. I have also become pretty much addicted to essential oils. I use them for health, cosmetics, cleaning products, pretty much everything I can use them for. So I use these plus a few other basic ingredients for cleaning. This is healthier (no harsh chemicals) and cheaper (I buy these few ingredients in bulk once a year or so). Here they are:

  • Baking soda
  • Washing soda
  • White vinegar
  • Castile soap
  • Lemon juice
  • Essential oils (mostly orange, tea tree, lavender, and peppermint)

So how do I clean my entire house with just these ingredients? Here’s the breakdown (by room):

  1. Bathroom
    • Bathtub: Sprinkle with baking soda and then clean with dilute castile soap
    • Sink/Counters/Mirror/Outside of toilet/Shower walls: Wipe down with dilute white vinegar (with a few drops of tea tree oil)
    • Toilet bowl: Sprinkle with baking soda. Add vinegar (the mixture will fizz) and scrub.
    • Refill soap dispenser: 1 part castile soap, 10 parts water, a few drops essential oil (tea tree, lavender, peppermint, rosemary)
  2. Kitchen
    • Refrigerator/counters/sink: Spray with dilute vinegar with a few drops of tea tree oil. Wipe Clean.
    • Oven: Sprinkle 2 cups baking soda and 1/4 cup washing soda all over the oven surface. Leave overnight and wipe clean in the morning.
    • Stovetop: Use hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to clean off cooked on gunk
    • Refill dish soap: 1 part castile soap, 10 parts water, a few drops tea tree essential oil, a few drops lavender essential oil
    • Metal faucets, etc: Lemon juice to remove hard water stains
  3. Living room
    • Area Rug: Take area rug outside and lay out on back driveway (on a dry day) – shake it out and beat it with a broom. Spray with dilute vinegar/lavender oil to remove any odors
    • Upholstery: Mix 1 part vinegar, 3 parts water, and a squirt of castile soap in a spray bottle. Spray on fabric and use a cloth to scrub the furniture.
  4. Bedroom
    • Bed: Change sheets and spray bed with dilute vinegar with lavender essential oils
  5. Basement (laundry)
    • Refill laundry detergent: I use the laundry detergent recipe found here
  6. Whole house
    • Dust with dilute vinegar spray
    • Wood furniture: Polish with olive oil with lemon and orange essential oils
    • Windows: Wipe down with dilute vinegar and orange essential oil
    • Floors: Combine 1/2 cup castile soap in a bucket 3 gallons hot water. Add a few drops tea tree and orange essential oils. Mop floors as usual.

Here are some other great guides on spring cleaning naturally:

Using these natural products instead of chemical cleaners does mean that I have to put a little more elbow grease into the cleaning process, but if it means that my family and I don’t need to be breathing in as many chemicals on a daily basis then it’s worth it.


One thought on “Spring Cleaning in an Urban Homestead

  1. Pingback: DIY Essential Oil Blends for the Home | living on a green thumb

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